Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels, and a dear friend of mine. Her newest novel, Sunset Beach, was released on May 7th and she was recently featured in the July issue of Welcome Home. Along with being featured in Welcome Home, she graciously answered a few questions about being a writer and what’s coming next!
1. Why did you become a writer?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I was an early reader and was enchanted with the idea that maybe someday I could also become a teller of stories. I majored in journalism in college and worked as a newspaper reporter for the first fourteen years of my career, but I eventually switched to journalism more than 28 years ago when I discovered that I wanted to tell bigger stories for a wider audience.
2. What inspired your current book?
The inspiration for Sunset Beach came from a casual conversation with a young family friend. Andrew had just graduated from college and while he searched to discover his forever career, he was working in his father’s law firm. And by the way, both his parents are very old, dear friends. He described his duties as a file clerk and the thought popped into my mind–so I asked the question. “What if you were going through old files and discovered your dad, who is your boss, had done something totally unethical, even illegal? Andrew assured me that would never happen, but the damage was already done–that “what if?” had germinated the seed of a plot for a novel. In Sunset Beach, Drue Campbell takes a job working for her high-profile father–who is a personal injury lawyer. When a disgruntled client accuses her father of taking a pay-off to settle a case, Drue suspects her father might be guilty of that–and even worse.
3. What’s next for you?
Next summer’s book is set in the world of small-town journalism. My protagonist, Sarah Conley Hawkins, has accepted a job with an award-winning online investigative reporting news service in Washington, D.C. But at the going away party thrown for her by her colleagues at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she gets the devastating news that the publication has folded. With no job offers forthcoming, she’s forced to return to her hometown on the Gulf Coast, and beg her older brother to give her a job working at the financially threatened family-owned weekly newspaper. She moves with her grandmother into The Dunes, the family beach house, and the first weekend she’s in town finds herself questioning the “accidental death” of a prominent local judge whose tangled personal history comes to light on the day of his funeral.